Fort William man pleads guilty to assault and threatening behaviour

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A Fort William man, who was until recently a shop manager in Spean Bridge, has been fined more than £700 after pleading guilty to amended charges of assault and behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.

Steven MacLeod, 27, of Douglas Place, Fort William, appeared at Fort William Sheriff Court on trial last week on three charges relating to alleged assaults and threatening behaviour which took place on June 19 this year.

The court heard that at around 8.20pm on June 19, Chelsea McGhee and William Hendrie were driving along Argyll Street, Fort William, when MacLeod overtook them and stopped his car in front of them in the middle of the road. He then approached the couple in the car, opened Ms McGhee’s car door before reaching for the keys.

MacLeod then became what Ms McGhee described as ‘really angry’ and started ‘shouting aggressively’. The court heard that MacLeod then leaned into the car and punched Mr Hendrie on the side of the face before returning to his car and driving off.

According to the agreed facts, Ms McGhee and Mr Hendrie later noticed MacLeod following them in his car when they were driving past the Belford Hospital. The pair then pulled over into the M&S Dental Practice car park to turn round, at which point MacLeod got out and began shouting and punching the passenger-side window, where Mr Hendrie was sitting.

After this, Ms McGhee and Mr Hendrie were driving to the house of a relative when they again saw MacLeod following behind their car. When the pair arrived at the house, MacLeod got out of his car and was shouting and swearing.

In her evidence as a witness, Ms McGhee said that she and MacLeod had ended a relationship in March this year after approximately a year and a half but had kept in touch up until the day of this incident. When procurator fiscal depute Matthew Kerr asked Ms McGhee how she felt during the incident, she replied: ‘Terrified.’

In mitigation, the defence solicitor for MacLeod, Hamish Melrose, said: ‘He clearly saw red and in cross-examination Chelsea might have explained why he saw red. It was the first time he saw the two of them together and that is why he followed this course of action.’

Towards the end of the trial, MacLeod changed his plea to guilty on an amended charge of assaulting Mr Hendrie by punching him on the head. MacLeod also changed his plea to guilty on an amended charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm to Mr Hendrie and his partner Ms McGhee, in that he repeatedly shouted and swore, repeatedly struck a window of the car they were in, followed them in his car and repeatedly uttered threats of violence.

A third charge involving an alleged assault was later dropped during the proceedings.

Sheriff MacDonald sentenced MacLeod to pay a fine in total of £720 for the two offences. MacLeod is also now subject to a six month non-harassment order.